Monday, November 20, 2006

Coasting the scene for success

I attended the launch of Far Coast, Coca-Cola’s new coffee brand, last Friday and found out how the new product is going to give the established competition a run for its money.

After taking advantage of the unlimited free drinks we could order from the counter, I found myself talking to Shakir Moin, Coca-Cola Singapore’s country manager. Now Starbucks is literally just across the street from the Far Coast store, and while Far Coast will only have one concept store in Singapore, it is up against the multiple stores of Starbucks, CBTL, TCC, Coffee Express, and even McDonald’s McCafe, located throughout Singapore. So what I was keen to know was how Far Coast was going to pit itself against the other coffee outlets.

In a dramatic move away from its usual mass advertising approach used for its carbonated drinks, Shakir said the company’s strategy would involve more of a mix this time, especially the use of more direct approaches in engaging with consumers, through experiential marketing at its concept store as well as more use of BTL marketing initiatives. I thought it was really refreshing that a giant like Coca-Cola would still be agile enough, and savvy enough, to have its finger on the pulse of which marketing effort would work, and not just employ its usual tactic of blanket marketing to the masses. Because if you think about it, none of Far Coast’s other competitors, with the exception of McDonald’s perhaps, have fully tapped into the engaging consumers one-on-one space – but please correct me if I’m wrong.

The company is also aiming to introduce Far Coast to hotels, cinemas, food chains, restaurants, supermarkets, pubs, bars etc., which will give it a bigger footprint than having eight stores across the island for example – it’ll definitely be a lot cheaper as well. So what do you think of Coca-Cola’s marketing plan for Far Coast; will it work, or is it a far out idea?


Imran said...

Dear Clarice,

This is a great move for Coke to diversify into 'different yet similar' categories. Coke's success in this would really depend on their tapping into Coke's current loyal customer base through synergies between Coca Cola and Far Coast brands. Can consumers of coke connect to Far coast? Does Far coast stand for similar values as Coke? :) I will have to visit the store to find that one out. But what did you feel when you were there? If you didn't know that Coke owns Far coast, would you still feel they have synergies in their values and can transfer brand loyalties?

Best regards,

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